Runner Keith Parks, 60, crosses the finish with his daughter Victoria Parks (left) and his niece, Justina Parks, holding up the finish-line banner on Sunday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Runners complete Boston Marathon in South Surrey

Global pandemic caused the event to go virtual, but the reward of completing it is all the same

Of all the excuses to skip participating in a marathon event, a global pandemic, combined with a smoke-filled sky, is as valid as any.

But a group of runners, including South Surrey’s Keith Parks, didn’t allow anything to get in the way of completing the Boston Marathon virtual event Sunday morning.

It was pitch-dark at 5 a.m. when Parks, Dr. Janet Green from Courtenay, Rick Cooney from Sechelt, and Sherry Mahoney and her husband Jon from Vancouver, kicked off a 106-lap journey at the South Surrey Athletic Park track as part of the event.

Earlier this year, the Boston Athletic Association cancelled the in-person event, and instead presented a virtual run. Participants who registered and paid to enter the virtual event received an official number and were given one week to complete the 26-mile run.

A heavy cloud of smoke on the Semiahmoo Peninsula from Washington State and Oregon wildfires threatened the marathon, but the group agreed that Sunday was the day.

VIDEO: Smoky skies from U.S. wildfires continue to cast a pall over Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley

“I try to go to the Boston Marathon every year because after my first Boston, it was the most awesome, wonderful, special event in the world. I actually said I will keep doing this until the day I die,” Parks said, who has participated in 16 Boston Marathons.

With his daughter Victoria and niece Justina holding the finish-line banner, Parks threw his arms in celebration as he crossed with a time of 3:46:35.

His elated reaction demonstrated that it didn’t matter if only a few family members were in attendance, rather than the usual crowd of 500,000 people who line the route at the annual Boston event.

That level of elation, Parks explained to Peace Arch News shortly after he completed the run, can be experienced by anyone.

“The thing about marathons, when I started running I was given a statistic back in 1996, which was of everybody who runs in the world, one per cent will do a marathon… I’m getting emotional,” Parks said, still catching his breath. “Of that one per cent, one to two per cent will do a second. Most people say they will never, ever do that again, or they will say I can do anything now.”

“You learn that the body is an incredible machine, and if you just train it and treat it right, it will do great things for you.”

The runners he participated with are from an international group called Marathon Maniacs.

In total, Parks has completed 152 marathons, while Jon has completed 559, Sherry 290, and Cooney 181. Green holds the Canadian record for the most marathons completed by a woman with 444 under her belt.

While Parks finished with a time of 3:46:35, Cooney finished with a time of 4:31:15, Green with 4:45:02, Jon with 5:12:32 and Sherry with 4:58:29.

When asked how the smoke from Sunday’s run affected him, Parks said “I’ll find out tomorrow.”

Peninsula Runners

A day prior to the Marathon Maniacs run, a group of athletes from Peninsula Runners held their own virtual Boston Marathon event in the Semiahmoo Peninsula. Some of those runners were at the track early Sunday morning cheering on the Marathon Maniacs.

Starting at Ocean Park, the loop course – which had to be completed four times – took seven runners through Amble Green Drive and back west down 16 Avenue, ending in Kwomais Park.

South Surrey’s John Martin finished with a time of 3:56, Mark Mori finished at 4:04, Cathy Giles 3:32, Norm Dods 3:27, Brian Whitehead 3:41, and Bill Li with 4:14. White Rock’s Janet Weber finished with a time of 4:10. The race was directed by Anna Matheson from Delta.

SurreyWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: One injured in shooting on South Surrey-Langley border

Shots reported near 194 Street and 34 Avenue, burned-out vehicle found in 18100-block of 12 Avenue

PHOTOS: South Surrey skunk family photo earns honourable mention in BC SPCA contest

Winners of society’s latest wildlife photography contest announced

Surrey wrestler Jason Bains receives four-year suspension for using banned substance

Queen Elizabeth Secondary grad tests positive for steroid Turinabol, silver national medal removed

What happens when someone tests positive for COVID-19 at a Surrey school?

Surrey Schools Superintendent explains step-by-step process for notifying the community

COVID-19 exposures reported at four more Surrey schools

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Report raises questions about COVID outbreak that killed 25 seniors at Langley Lodge

CEO defends leaked document that’s igniting queries about BC’s most deadly COVID outbreak

PHOTO: RCMP escort beaver across busy Chilliwack road

Motorists had to exercise patience as the slow-moving creature crossed several lanes of traffic

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

Most Read